19 Sep

Breast cancer diagnosis gave doctor ‘the ultimate breast cancer fellowship’

first_imgDr. Cory Donovan knew by the fourth year of medical school that she wanted to specialize in breast cancer treatment. What she didn’t know is that before finishing her specialty training, she would be a breast cancer patient.Donovan was just completing her surgical residency at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland when she felt a lump in her breast. Immediately, she assumed she had breast cancer.But, after a few days, Donovan talked herself down. She was only 34 years old. Lumps were most often benign in women her age. She must be overreacting, she reasoned. After all, she was preparing to start her fellowship training in breast oncology. Breast cancer was just at the forefront of her mind.So she did what she would advise a patient her age to do: wait. She decided to wait a couple months to see if the lump would go away.“It didn’t go away,” Donovan said. “It got bigger.”Donovan underwent an ultrasound of her breast and lymph nodes in September 2015.“As soon as I saw the lymph nodes, I knew this was not benign,” she said.Just two months into her breast oncology fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Donovan was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer with positive lymph nodes. The diagnosis, she said, was terrifying. She knew the severity of the diagnosis and the difficulty in treating triple-negative cancer.last_img

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